Delivered in Plenary - 25th September 2002
On the Brok report, I remain sceptical of the need to formally institute a CFSP or an ESDP. I prefer to retain a national foreign policy and work through NATO.
Recent events over Iraq have questioned the viability of the CFSP. Nevertheless, I engage constructively with the EU reality, and I recognise the positive role Javier Solana has played, through the Quartet in the Middle East, in promoting long-term peace between Israel and Palestine. I also particularly support the role of Russia as our strategic partner.
Nevertheless, I support the High Representative's role as an intergovernmental envoy and do not want these vital areas made Community-based. Furthermore, I support US aims to rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein.
I was responsible for the amendment raising the serious issue of organised crime in the Balkans. A great advantage of EU enlargement in the long run is the inclusion of a country such as, for example, Ukraine, whose aspirations to join the EU the Commission is, sadly, ignoring. Enlargement will bind these countries to the West, encourage economic prosperity and make a much more coordinated fight against crime and illegal immigration possible when organisations such as Europol have a formal mandate.
Another of my interests is India, which is clearly amongst several potential great powers that are in the midst of internal transition. With economic liberalisation, India offers a growing market for EU businesses. A multicultural secular democracy in an otherwise troubled region, it is a source of stability with a no-first-use nuclear policy. It is a bulwark against the rise of extremism, in particular regional Islamist tendencies such as those evidenced by recent attacks on Christian and western targets in Pakistan. These demonstrate an unchecked rise of religious fanaticism in that country, despite President Musharraf's rhetoric. Tragically, only yesterday 34 Hindus were killed by an Islamic terrorist bomb attack on a Hindu temple in Gujarat.
I do not share all the Brok report's objectives, but I remain an interested observer of this revolutionary change from the city state of some 2 000 years ago, to the 19th-century nation-state, and to the EU Member State that we are witnessing today.